Monday, April 4, 2016

Jamaican Irish Moss (Vanilla) - Asian Food Market

Jamaican Irish Moss (Vanilla) - Asian Food Market
If you're following Sometimes Foodie on Instagram, this might look familiar. I posted a photo of this can on Saint Patrick's Day, you know, cause it says "Irish Moss" and all, but I didn't get around to actually drinking it...until now! (To be honest, I was NOT ready for what was inside, and now even after finding out...I'm still not ready!)
I bought this can a while ago and I honestly can't remember why I picked it up in the first place. Saint Patrick's Day was months and months away, and the can's design and logo aren't particularly appealing. We have a bold red, black, and yellow design with some fake gold accents. Nothing is shiny, metallic, or eye catching, and I kind of think this looks like some kind of off brand beer or something. I think I bought this because I was so confused by it's existence. It's called "Irish Moss" but it's Jamaican, it's made by Big Bamboo, and it's vanilla flavored? What does any of that mean? I can only imagine I saw the text on the can and my curiosity got the best of me.
I opened the can and the insides look like...oatmeal? And it smells like a vanilla milkshake and...grits? Oh. Oh no. I was not prepared for another crazy textured beverage! My pour shot doesn't do the thickness and oatmeal-like consistency justice. The can said to shake it, and I did, but there are still quite a few chunks in there. I wasn't expecting this at all. I actually thought think might be some kind of vanilla milk or cream soda. What is this stuff?

According to good ol' Google, Carrageenan, which is in small print and parenthesis on the front of the can, is an extract from edible red seaweed which is often called "Irish Moss". It's used as a thickening or gelling agent in foods, which explains this texture, and the name. but it doesn't really explain why. Why would someone want to drink something like this? Maybe it tastes super awesome?

No. No it doesn't. The texture feels like I'm drinking really overcooked grits with a lot of cream, sugar, and artificial vanilla extract. It's intensely sweet, the artificial vanilla flavor is obnoxiously bold, and the texture is really bizarre. With the first sip or two I couldn't really figure out where I stood, but as things went on my opinion became clear. When I took my first sip the beverage was chilled, and it seemed to be more tolerable when it was ice cold because I could pretend it was a milkshake, but as it slowly warmed up to room temperature (due to the photo lights) it started to get thicker? It could have been my imagination, but I could have sworn this stuff was getting thicker and more oatmeal-like as it sat in my glass, which was not a pleasant texture and since it was so thick the cloying sweetness coated my mouth. This is NOT the drink for me, and after finishing my tiny glass for my photo session, I dumped the rest down the drain. (Which is something I VERY rarely do because I'm cheap frugal and hate wasting food.) 
If you've ever eaten cream of wheat/grits and thought to yourself, "I wish this came in a can with a butt-load of sweetener so I could drink it on the go," then this is the product you've been waiting for!
© Maria Smith
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  1. Lol oh boy, people don't drink Irish Moss because it's tasty. They drink it for its supposed health benefits which basically all revolve around "increasing vigor" and sexual libido! Hence the brand name, "Big Bamboo". It's a reference to this popular Jamaican song which isn't talking about bamboo, hahaha.